It has been argued that the Civil War was a conflict between the abstract principles of the North and the concrete loyalties of the South. What this amounts to is two distinct concepts of liberty. Lincoln conceived liberty as a kind of Platonic ideal to be pursued by a benevolent central government and enforced, if need be, at the point of a bayonet.
A review of Regionalism and Nationalism in the United States: The Attack on Leviathan by Donald Davidson (Transaction Books, 1991).
August 18, 1993 will mark the centennial of Donald Davidson’s birth. On April 25 of that year, he will have been dead a quarter of a century. During his lifetime Davidson was considered the most minor of the major Fugitives, and nothing has happened since his death to force a revision of that judgment. In a recent essay, M. E. Bradford noted that today when Davidson is discussed as poet, he is portrayed as ‘“an anachronism’ and belated romantic, merely a voice of nostalgia with no irony and no sense of the ‘proper strategy for a poem.’” Those who consider his criticism point out that while Ransom, Tate. Brooks, and Warren were editing major literary quarterlies. Davidson largely confined his critical and editorial labors to the book page of the Nashville Tennessean. Finally, Davidson maintained an obstinate loyalty to the Agrarian faith when his Vanderbilt soulmates had moved on to other interests and other allegiances. Such is the conventional wisdom.
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